- Paperback: 227 pages
- Publisher: Vintage; Reprint edition (February 13, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1400078431
- ISBN-13: 978-1400078431
- Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,155 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,822 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Year of Magical Thinking Paperback – February 13, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Many will greet this taut, clear-eyed memoir of grief as a long-awaited return to the terrain of Didion's venerated, increasingly rare personal essays. The author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem and 11 other works chronicles the year following the death of her husband, fellow writer John Gregory Dunne, from a massive heart attack on December 30, 2003, while the couple's only daughter, Quintana, lay unconscious in a nearby hospital suffering from pneumonia and septic shock. Dunne and Didion had lived and worked side by side for nearly 40 years, and Dunne's death propelled Didion into a state she calls "magical thinking." "We might expect that we will be prostrate, inconsolable, crazy with loss," she writes. "We do not expect to be literally crazy, cool customers who believe that their husband is about to return and need his shoes." Didion's mourning follows a traditional arc—she describes just how precisely it cleaves to the medical descriptions of grief—but her elegant rendition of its stages leads to hard-won insight, particularly into the aftereffects of marriage. "Marriage is not only time: it is also, paradoxically, the denial of time. For forty years I saw myself through John's eyes. I did not age." In a sense, all of Didion's fiction, with its themes of loss and bereavement, served as preparation for the writing of this memoir, and there is occasionally a curious hint of repetition, despite the immediacy and intimacy of the subject matter. Still, this is an indispensable addition to Didion's body of work and a lyrical, disciplined entry in the annals of mourning literature.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From The New Yorker
Didion's husband, the writer John Gregory Dunne, died of a heart attack, just after they had returned from the hospital where their only child, Quintana, was lying in a coma. This book is a memoir of Dunne's death, Quintana's illness, and Didion's efforts to make sense of a time when nothing made sense. "She's a pretty cool customer," one hospital worker says of her, and, certainly, coolness was always part of the addictive appeal of Didion's writing. The other part was the dark side of cool, the hyper-nervous awareness of the tendency of things to go bad. In 2004, Didion had her own disasters to deal with, and she did not, she feels, deal with them coolly, or even sanely. This book is about getting a grip and getting on; it's also a tribute to an extraordinary marriage.
Copyright © 2005 The New Yorker --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top customer reviews
Because of the impact it made on me, I just ordered a copy to give to my step-daughter.
She lost a friend several months ago in an automobile accident and her grief is palpable. Even though she has a husband and two children, family and many friends, she is functioning on auto-pilot. This incredible friendship encompassed only a year, but, as she put it, her friendship allowed her to "check all the boxes that were unfulfilled" in her life. For one year, they did almost everything together, along with their families get-togethers. Their relationship went far beyond friendship and even "sistership". Simply put, they just clicked. Unfortunately my step-daughter was also involved in the accident and witnessed her friend's lifeless body. She was and continues to be devastated.
My prayer is that Joan's detailed account of her own grief will allow my step-daughter to accept that grieving is normal and that everyone experiences it differently. No doubt, there will be many tears flowing when she reads Joan's words. But, with tears and time, comes healing. She is a Christian and knows that God is walking with her through the grief. That doesn't mean she won't experience this deep grief... just that she's never alone.
I would caution casual readers that the title alone could be misleading.
Most recent customer reviews
I tried to read this author's books and just found my mind wandering, which is not a good thing when you're reading a book.Read more